07.19.2018

Five Local Artists Who’ve Found Inspiration From Alabama Gulf Seafood

Alabama Gulf Seafood inspires us in many ways.

For the men and women of Alabama’s seafood industry, it inspires us to work hard to harvest and prepare our beautiful bounty. For everyone else, it inspires us to eat local, eat healthy, and eat well.

And for many Alabama artists, that muse sings a much more colorful song.

As long as we’ve been putting fresh fish, shrimp, crab, and oysters on our plates, Alabama Gulf Seafood has provided a bounty of visual and sentimental influence on our artwork. After all, if a paintbrush is your calling, what better way to pay tribute to the place where you’re from?

We spoke to five artists from Alabama’s Gulf Coast to learn more about their work and how Alabama Gulf Seafood has sparked their creativity. Learn more about these artists, and if you’re looking to decorate the walls of your home or your rental property, pick up a piece or two!

Nick Cantrell – Art By Nick

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Opelika and moved to Orange Beach at the age of 13. I’ve lived in Orange Beach for most of my life.

How long have you been painting?

I took an art class from a local artist in third grade. She taught us to make paints like the Native Americans with pigments from the soil and other natural ingredients like honey. I’ve loved to paint ever since.

What about Alabama Gulf Seafood inspires you in your artwork?

I am an avid kayaker, sailor, boater, conservationist, and fisherman. We even pull our own shrimp net in Arnica Bay with three generations on the boat—usually my children, myself, and their grandfather. Heck, I’ve even painted the Alabama Gulf Seafood logo on The Lulu, before she was sunken as an artificial reef! I want others to value what we have as much as I do and learn about responsible practices so that our children and their children may also. If I can spread awareness and generate interest in the natural world, then I can have some sense of purpose.

What’s your favorite Alabama Gulf Seafood dish and restaurant?

Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina has been, hands down, my favorite restaurant for some time. As for favorite dish, if I must pick a favorite, it would be oysters—whether they’re raw, baked, grilled, fried, on the half-shell, in a sandwich, a gumbo, or even a stuffing. Oysters are a key indicator species and deserve a lot of attention for conservation as they play an important role in the local ecosystem. (And they’re delicious.)

Where can we find your work?

I have work available at Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach, Tino’s Fine Art & Frames in Gulf Shores, and a selection of print reproductions available at Wall Décor in Orange Beach and Coastal Magpie in Ocean Springs, MS. People are also welcome to visit me by appointment at my home studio in Orange Beach.

Dana Gault – Doll Whiskers

Where were you born and raised?

My husband and I were both born and raised in Meridian, MS. In 2007, he accepted a job in Mobile, so we made the move and then ultimately settled down in Daphne with our three daughters.

How long have you been painting?

I’ve always enjoyed drawing as well as painting, and over the years I’ve used many mediums. When I began layering acrylics over paper and fabric, I knew I’d found not only a favorite combination, but my own personal style. I have been painting professionally for eight years now.

What about Alabama Gulf Seafood inspires you in your artwork?

The Alabama Gulf Coast is where so many people flock to relax, eat great seafood, keep tradition, and make memories. Times I’ve spent there have inspired me to paint rows of colorful beach houses, sand dollars, crabs, and starfish. However, shrimp are my favorite and my most requested paintings. They have such expressive lines and come alive when layered in hues of red, vibrant orange, and coral pink.

What’s your favorite Alabama Gulf Seafood dish and restaurant?

Occasionally I’ll order peel-and-eat shrimp or fried oysters, but my heart really belongs to the classic fried shrimp. I am always excited to dine on the Causeway at Felix’s and the Original Oyster House. If I’m on the beach I’ll choose Sea ‘N’ Suds or Bill’s By The Beach.

Where can we find your work?

My art has been on display at Fairhope Artist Gallery and popular local festivals like Foley’s Art in the Park, the Grand Festival of Art in Fairhope, and the Jubilee Festival in Daphne. My private studio is in my home, but I sell my original paintings, prints, note cards, and Christmas ornaments online at DollWhiskers.Etsy.com.

Terri Keller – TKellerArt

Where were you born and raised?

Born and raised in Mobile. We moved to Dauphin Island while in high school, but I returned to Mobile after marrying in 1979.  My husband and I are still property owners there.

How long have you been painting?

I’ve been painting seriously since 2007. It began as a hobby, sitting on the dock at the island and watching my family unload their fishing tournament catches. Later, I began learning through trial and error after finding watercolors on sale during a trip to the local craft store to gather art supplies for a homeschooling lesson. Who knew? After I started using watercolors, I began noticing color differently. Where I’d only seen blue, green, and yellow, I saw cerulean, sap, and ochre instead of just “fish gray.” And Mahi colors…wow!

What about Alabama Gulf Seafood inspires you in your artwork?

The first time I attempted to paint a plate of oysters was after asking a friend to wait a second so I could snap a picture of his half shell order after running into them at the River Shack. That was before that became a thing on social media! Living on the Gulf Coast and participating in the art events, and loving seafood…well, you can’t help but be inspired, whether whimsical or realism. And who wouldn’t want to capture a jubilee on canvas?

What’s your favorite Alabama Gulf Seafood dish and restaurant?

Hands down, crab cakes—my own recipe!  I don’t think I could choose a single favorite restaurant, though. It just depends on what we are craving! There are so many great places right here in Mobile. Crab claws at Bayley’s. Oysters at the Blue Gill. Gumbo at Wintzell’s. Shrimp po’ boys at Neighbor’s. Shrimp and grits anywhere!

Where can we find your work?

I pulled out of gallery and gift shop venues a couple of years ago to focus on other things, but I’m returning to the Dauphin Island Heritage and Art Council (where the red and white lighthouse sits on the island) as a guest artist for the month of August. I also recently opened an Etsy shop and started an Instagram page, and I am currently trying to revamp and reopen my website.

Joe Sheffield – Something Southern Art

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Mobile in 1944. Our family moved to Hollinger’s Island on the bay front shortly thereafter. Spent a wonderful 22 years on Mobile Bay! I currently live in Daphne, not far from the Bay.

How long have you been painting?

I started sketching during my childhood, encouraged by my mother, who was a wonderful artist herself. She encouraged me constantly to sketch anything that interested me. My watercolor work didn’t really kick in until the late 1970s. I started to participate in art shows and sell my work in 1991. I concentrate with watercolor washes to capture the sky and water scenes.

What about Alabama Gulf Seafood inspires you in your artwork?

Growing up on Mobile Bay, and working with my Father in the seafood industry, inspired me to try to capture these scenes on paper.

What’s your favorite Alabama Gulf Seafood dish and restaurant?

My favorite seafood dish is good old-fashioned gumbo, with everything in it! I have two favorite restaurants, on opposite sides of the Bay: Kraver’s on the Eastern Shore and Catalina’s in Bayou la Batre.

Where can we find your work?

I am in three local galleries: Gallery by the Bay in Fairhope, Art Does It on Dauphin Island, and Opulence at Bailey’s Corner. I also have a Facebook Page, Something Southern Art.

Patrick Tucker – Alabama Burning

Where were you born and raised?

I was born and raised in Fairhope, but I’ve lived in Birmingham and I currently live in Mobile.

How long have you been painting?

I’ve always been inspired by my grandparents on both sides of the family. They were always making something from painting to woodwork to quilting. But honestly I just picked one up one day and couldn’t put it down. I’ve been making wood burning art for four years now, and my main methods are just wood, a torch, and my metal spatula. I also use a detailed burner pen when needed.

What about Alabama Gulf Seafood inspires you in your artwork?

Alabama’s Gulf Coast has been huge in my art! I’ve grown up here combing the beaches and fishing the waters from the Delta to the Gulf. I don’t remember a time I haven’t been hungry for my home’s seafood. Now I’m getting to show all the things I’ve seen and imagined over the years through artwork.

What’s your favorite Alabama Gulf Seafood dish and restaurant?

I absolutely love grilled shrimp or fried crab claws, so it’s a real toss up. Growing up here, we’ve always gone to the Original Oyster House on the Causeway, but I really love the guys at Dragonfly Foodbar in Fairhope. They make great food!

Where can we find your work?

Right now I’m building my website AlabamaBurning.com, but follow me on Instagram. Also my art is on display at Serda Brewing and The Serpents of Bienville, both on Government Street in Downtown Mobile.